Robert founded Orland Conservation in 2003 as a social enterprise and environmental consulting group that offers a range of services in land conservation, sustainability planning and environmental communications to conservation authorities, land trusts and municipalities. A skilled strategist, public speaker and accomplished entrepreneur, Robert has delivered presentations and workshops as an expert on land securement across Canada. Working in partnership with municipalities and government agencies for many years, Robert has facilitated and advised on the protection and creative stewardship of over 10,000 acres of environmentally significant natural heritage lands and parks in Ontario’s urban and rural communities.
Keith is a Senior Advisor with LandVest, a broad-based real estate company, working on conservation advisory services to private landowners, non-profit conservation organizations, public agencies, and charitable foundations specializing in conservation transactions, successfully completed the largest purchased forest land conservation easement in North America, the Pingree Forest Partnership on 762,192 acres in Maine, is a founder of the North East Wilderness Trust and the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. He has a BS in Forestry from UMass (1977) and a Masters in Environmental law from Vermont Law School (1985), holds MA professional foresters license # 211, and is a licensed Mass, NY and CT real estate Broker, and a member of the Mass State Forester Licensing Board, past Board Chair for the Trustees of the Conway School of Landscape Design, past Board member of the Northern Forest Center and lives in Warwick, Mass serving on the Board of Assessors, Open Space Committee and the Town Forest Committee.
Gail Kruk, CPA, CGA is a Principal and the Cross Border Practice Director of Larson Gross CPAs and Consultants in Bellingham, Washington. Prior to joining Larson Gross in 2000, she worked 9 years for a public accounting firm in Surrey, British Columbia.
Gail specializes in serving Canadian businesses and individuals with a U.S. presence as well as U.S. businesses and individuals with a Canadian presence. As a resident of Canada working in the U.S., she provides a unique perspective to this complex area. She is an accomplished, sought-after speaker and author on such topics as Cross Border tax issues, tax planning for businesses and individuals, and doing business in Canada.
She is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia and is the former treasurer of the Canada-America Society of Washington, a business and social networking organization that works to encourage business relationships between Canadians and Americans.
Gail and her husband, Ed, have two grown children and two grandchildren. She likes to spend her free time with family, and she and Ed enjoy travelling.
David M. Farner is executive vice president and chief strategic and transformation officer at UPMC. Mr. Farner works on UPMC strategic opportunities and initiatives and plays an active role in the executive direction of UPMC. He works closely as the Chief of Staff to the CEO and assumes a leadership role regarding merger and acquisitions, payor contracting, marketing, communications and overall strategy.
Prior to Mr. Farner’s current position, he served as the Interim Chief Financial Officer for the System, and has served in numerous financial leadership roles over his 35 plus years at UPMC.
Mr. Farner is a graduate of Westminster College. He serves on the boards of Westminster College, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Evolent Health.
Along with his wife Laura, they enjoy the outdoors with their two boys Max and Samuel. They spend time each summer at their family cottage in the North Channel of Lake Huron.
David is a real estate appraiser and consultant with de Stecher Appraisals in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Since the beginning of his appraisal career in 1980, David has had the opportunity to participate in a variety of interesting assignments throughout the Maritime Provinces. He has a broad range of experience with many different real estate-related issues including expropriation and assessment/payment-in-lieu of property tax review. In addition, David has provided consultations to both public and private clients for various reasons such as the negotiated settlement of First Nations land claims and rental disputes. He has also conducted studies on the impact of various external factors on real estate value and reviewed appraisal reports for an assortment of purposes. However, true to his Maritime roots, David still enjoyed assignments related to waterfront and island properties and relished the opportunity to do an inspection in his kayak.
David has been an active member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada for over forty years and has served on various Institute committees and the Board of Directors during that time. He was named as a Fellow of the Appraisal Institute of Canada in 2008.
Since 2014, David has been the Chair of Environment Canada’s Ecological Gift Program Appraisal Review Panel. As such, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the panel. This includes supervising the review of appraisals submitted by donors of ecological gifts in support of their estimate of fair market value and making recommendations to the Minister of Environment in this regard.
William “Scott” Boatman
Scott is the co-founder and General Counsel of ProNet Capital, LLC, a private equity firm that capitalizes and manages multifamily and high-end resort property development. He is also Managing Partner for Boatman Law Group, LLC, a small firm that represents professional athletes, other high net worth individuals, startup ventures, and family offices helping to oversee and manage their business affairs.
Scott is a graduate of Indiana University where he earned a BA in History with high distinction and a JD from the Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington.
He and his wife Cindy live in Kenilworth, Illinois. They have two sons with whom they spend summers in the Bay of Islands, Ontario in Lake Huron’s eastern North Channel. They have participated in numerous conservation initiatives and the family volunteers annually with the Whitefish River First Nation, working with summer camps and youth sports leagues. In addition, Scott served as President of the Bay of Islands Community Association for five years and continues to serve on the board.
Allen is a real estate and property lawyer in Dartmouth, NS. Active in the real estate community, Allen is a member of Real Estate Lawyers Association of Nova Scotia (RELANS), the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Canadian Bar Association. Allen is licensed to practice law in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick.
Allen is an avid hiker. In 2003, he completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Combining his passion for hiking and a commitment to environmental stewardship and accessibility, Allen supports conservation efforts in Atlantic Canada. He volunteers with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and various trail organizations to support sustainability throughout Nova Scotia’s trail systems. In his spare time, Allen also enjoys football, learning guitar and listening to Indie music.
Doug founded the sports technology company Lynx System Developers and invented the first PC-based high speed digital camera for replacing traditional “photo finish” in racing sports. He has an SM in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT and holds over 200 patents worldwide.
His passion, however, is land conservation. From an early age growing up in Maine (99 miles from the Canadian border) he spent his days wandering around in the woods, an activity he would later learn was called “trespassing”. Over time he came to understand that protecting public access to these places he loved was an intentional act carried out by organizations called land trusts. He has been hooked ever since.
Doug is a past board chair and current board member of Essex County Greenbelt, a regional land trust North of Boston. He is also active in conservation organizations all across Maine and into the Maritimes, as well as in the South Island of New Zealand. Doug is also a limited partner of Lyme Timber, a “double bottom line” real estate investment trust which has been instrumental in the protection of over a million
acres in the US and Canada.
Doug, his wife Shay and son Manny live in Newbury, Massachusetts surrounded by thousands of acres of conservation land.
David Genter is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, student of nature and has been fortunate to have engaged in a career in Science and Conservation that fed this passion and curiosity. Following degrees in Biology (Univ of Colorado) and Zoology (Univ of Montana) he spent several years as a Research Associate at UM. A move to Helena for a position with The Nature Conservancy where he initiated and established the award winning Montana Natural Heritage Program and the Natural Resource Information System (NRIS). After fourteen years as Director and Zoologist, Genter signed on with the Trust for Public Land as Director for the Northern Rockies Program. In this role he initiated and completed some of the largest land and forest conservation projects in the country, working with private landowners, timber and mining companies, local communities, other non-profits and a vast array of agency and elected officials to engage and complete land transactions across a three state region. Following nine productive years at TPL Genter started his private land conservation business, Big Sky Land Group, working with local communities, land trusts and private landowners to craft significant conservation acquisitions and easements, focusing on areas with critical wildlife habitat, communities with high rates of development and growth and needs for public access and recreation.
In retirement David has been involved in support of and volunteer service to several regional land trusts, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Trout Unlimited, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as a Hunter Education Instructor, the American Fisheries Society, and serves as Board Trustee with the Helena Symphony Orchestra.
David and his wife Heidi reside on their farm in southwestern Montana, along the Gallatin River near Bozeman. When not travelling to wild places across the globe or fly fishing near and far, they can be found at home with their 3 dogs, horses, honey bees and ever expansive gardens and orchard.
Karla Guyn is the former CEO of Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), having retired in the fall of 2021. Prior to assuming the role of CEO in 2016, she held several senior leadership positions with DUC over her 24-year career with the organization. This included serving as the national director of conservation and director of conservation planning. Karla has served on international committees including the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and recently chaired the Sustainable Forestry Initiative board. Karla also served as board chair of Project Learning Tree Canada and is a current member of the Manitoba Expert Advisory Council and Environment Climate Change Canada’s Nature Advisory Committee.
Karla holds a master of science and a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan. She is dedicated to conservation issues and her accomplishments were recognized by The Wildlife Society in 2016 with its Fellows Award and in 2018 received a University of Saskatchewan Alumni of Influence Award. Karla lives on an old farmstead north of Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and energetic yellow Labrador retriever. She spends her free time hiking, skiing, kayaking and learning the art of fly fishing.
Michael J. Hart
Mike is currently Senior Appraiser at LandVest, Inc., a broad-based real estate company headquartered in Boston, where he engages in a broad range of valuation advisory, consulting, and brokerage assignments, including valuation for federal income, estate, and gift tax purposes, as well as land use, feasibility, and highest and best use studies. He joined LandVest in 1990, is a principal stockholder, and has sat on the company’s Board of Directors.
Mike’s practice is broadly focused on significant land-based assets, including investment-grade timberland, development land, resorts, remote natural amenity land, and prime residential property. He has specialized experienced in the valuation of conservation easements and historic preservation easements, including “landscape-scale” working forest easements. His clients include conservation non-profits, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners. He has worked throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean. and Latin America.
Barb Heidenreich is a professional land use planner and specialist in ecological economics with a B.A. from York U in Geography & Planning; M.A. from McMaster U in Economic Geography; MIA from Columbia U (SIPA) in International Affairs. Starting as an investment analyst for Brascan Ltd in Brazil, Barb has provided consulting services to First Nations in Labrador and British Columbia on community economics and land claims and was the federal representative facilitating the boundary and constitutions in the division of the Northwest Territories and formation of Nunavut.
Her forty-year planning career encompasses the positions of: Manager of Projects Planning with the Region of Durham; Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Research Foundation; Common Grounds Manager, Land Trusts & Conservation for Evergreen; Natural Heritage Coordinator for the Ontario Heritage Trust. Board appointments include: Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) founding director and first President/Chair; Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA); Baxter Creek Watershed Alliance (BCWA).
As a consultant she developed the ‘start-up’ Strategic Plans for Western Sky Land Trust, Calgary AB, and the Edmonton and Area Land Trust as well as working documents for OLTA members on developing Baseline Documentation Reports and Stewardship Plans. Barb has held teaching positions as Associate Professor with Trent University and as Centre Director for Boston University’s accredited School for Field Studies in Bamfield B.C. She has conducted research for the IUCN, consulted, presented and taught on the linkages between the environment and economy, valuing ecological goods and services and all aspects of natural areas conservation. Ontario Order in Council appointments include: Chair of the Task Force on Manufacturing of the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy (1990-1991); Board of Directors of Ontario Hydro (1991); Member of the Ontario Municipal Board (1991-1997) serving as an appeal court judge on land use disputes. Her farms: Innisfree Limited (100 acres est. 1914 by her great grandfather, Sir Byron E. Walker) and her Fern Hill Farm (200 ac.) are protected by a conservation easement agreement (CEA) held by the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust.
John W. Peirce
John is a retired geophysicist who grew up in eastern Massachusetts, where his father started two land trust organizations that together have protected some 40,000 acres over the last fifty years. John is a graduate of Dartmouth College and earned a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the M.I.T.-W.H.O.I. Joint Program in Oceanography. He taught geology and geophysics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S. for two years, and then worked as a geophysicist in Calgary for 30 years.
When John and his wife Nancy lived in Calgary he was heavily involved in the creation of Nose Hill Park, the largest municipal park in Canada. They now live on Gabriola Island B.C., close to the ocean. In retirement, John operated a market garden farm, designed rainwater-harvesting systems, and both he and Nancy are heavily in local volunteer projects.
John is a Past President of the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT), and he played a major part in negotiating the Robinson Woods covenant for the American Friends/GaLTT partnership. This was American Friends’ first conservation easement in BC. His many other community roles have included being Treasurer of the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber’s representative to the community-led Village Vision planning effort, and President of the Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative. In addition to serving on American Friends’ board, John facilitates a Parkinson’s Support Group on Gabriola.
Mr. Welles is a private investor and active nonprofit organization volunteer. His personal mission is to strengthen environmental organization Boards and their ability to secure the resources necessary for their success.
He was the founding President the Kensington Conservancy, a bi-national environmental organization incorporated in both Canada and the United States and served eleven years in that capacity. He was also a founding Trustee of the Cricket Island Foundation and he continues to serve on their board today.
Mr. Welles is a former Board Vice-President of the Land Trust Alliance. He served ten years as a Trustee of the Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, including two years as Chair, and three years as a Trustee of the Nature Conservancy in Colorado. Mr. Welles Chaired the Conservancy’s $76 Million “Countdown Colorado” Campaign, was a member of their $1.485 Billion “Last Great Places” Campaign Committee and has done extensive peer-to-peer Board development work with their State Chapters. Mr. Welles also served nine years on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Land Trust, including four years as its Vice President, and on the Boards of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation and the National Horse Show Association of America.
Mr. Welles’ passion is working with Boards of environmental organizations to help them become more engaged in their missions and to secure the resources to enable their success. He’s presented to environmental organization Boards in 26 states as well as to groups from Argentina, Canada, and Guatemala.
Mr. Welles is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and participated in Harvard University’s Initiative for Social Enterprise “Governing for Nonprofit Excellence” cohorts in 1999 and 2015.
Mr. Welles splits his time between Ann Arbor, MI and Desbarats, ON.
Dave Hillary is the Executive Director at American Friends of Canadian Conservation. He works to develop and sustain deep, meaningful, and long-term relationships with partners, individuals, corporations, foundations, and governmental organizations who align with the vision, mission, and mandate of AF across Canada and the United States.
Prior to joining AF in October of 2022, he was Director of Corporate Development & Strategic Partnerships at the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) in Ottawa, Ontario. Additionally, he is a former Director with the Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC), where he spent 12 years running the largest regional program in Canada.
Dave brings deep and meaningful conservation experience and relationships to his work at AF. He is a champion for the idea of conservation outcomes through collaboration and was previously Chairperson of the Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP), is the current Vice President of the Heart of the Rockies Initiative (HOTR), is the current Vice President of the Heart of the Rockies Foundation.
He has three degrees in natural and social sciences and is a recovering professor of Environmental Sciences. He lives in Silverton, British Columbia with his partner Lynette.
Off the clock, Dave likes to explore, take very long short-cuts, paddle his kayak, travel in Mexico and spend time with his vagabond children and grandchildren who are all global travelers.
Dave is also known for sayings like “shoot the puck” and “keep your eye on the prize and don’t blink”
Director of Conservation
Katie Blake is a conservation professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the NGO sector in Canada. She served for five years as Executive Director of the Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), a regional land trust based on southern Vancouver Island, during which time she gained valuable insights into the importance of community and relationships in achieving successful outcomes for conservation. She believes deeply in working in partnership to achieve ambitious goals and has been proud to champion Indigenous-led land securement projects during her time with HAT. Her career has also included 17 years with the Nature Conservancy of Canada working in land securement and land portfolio management.
Born in California and raised on the beautiful coast of Maine, Katie has lived and worked in Canada since 2001. Katie resides in Victoria, British Columbia, on the unceded territory of the Lək̓ʷəŋən People, with her husband Ian.
Administration & Finance Associate
Caitlin Strasser has loved supporting the work of American Friends and its partners. Growing up on San Juan Island, WA, just a stones throw from British Columbia, she’s had a close relationship with Canada and its endless beauty. Now settled in Bellingham, WA, Caitlin also works in all sectors of real estate – from design, eco-friendly renovation, and property management.
Sandra Tassel is the President of Look at the Land Inc, a conservation consulting firm that works with non-profit and governmental entities involved in saving land. Tassel is the author of The Conservation Program Handbook published by Island Press. The purpose of the handbook is to assist local governments and conservation advocates involved in starting new land acquisition programs. Tassel consults with communities around the country to help them establish or improve their conservation programs.
In addition, she is a frequent contributor to national publications related to land conservation, including writing the chapters on both local governments and partnerships for The Conservation Easement Handbook, published by the Land Trust Alliance and the Trust for Public Land (TPL). Tassel regularly leads trainings related to land protection for organizations such as American Planning Association and the Land Trust Alliance. Prior to becoming a consultant, Tassel was the founder and director of the TPL’s office in Colorado where she did all conservation transactions in the state and helped lead some of the region’s first successful conservation finance measures.
During the years that she lived in Colorado she helped found the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and served on the board and on the executive committee for many years.
Allyn Abbott joined the Board of Directors of American Friends of Canadian Conservation at the beginning of 2017. Allyn lives in Gravenhurst, Muskoka, Ontario where she has served on the board of the Muskoka Conservancy, one of American Friends’ partner land trusts, including 6 years as the president. Allyn’s background as a biologist with Environment Canada followed by a career as a lawyer is a good match for American Friends’ work to protect Canada’s ecologically significant landscapes. “I joined the American Friends to get involved with their important work of helping Americans to permanently protect wild spaces in Canada. Because some of the properties have been owned for generations, the families have a deep love of their land and are eager to ensure that their properties are preserved forever.”
Seattle, WA 98112-4517